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Church Store Connection encourages networking Print Email
Written by Ginny McCabe   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 04:09 PM America/New_York

Pastor and author Charles Stanley challenges church store staff at annual luncheon organized by Geni Hulsey

Church bookstore managers and staff—and those considering starting a church store—gathered during ICRS at the Church Store Connection Center for a time of education, networking and fellowship.CharlesStanley-ChurchStoreConnection

Dr. Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta and founder and president of In Touch Ministries, brought a message to church-store personnel.

“I know you are the ones that make it happen in all of these bookstores, and I am very privileged to be able to speak to you just for a few moments,” he said. “I’ve been a pastor for 57 years, and I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve been in a lot of bookstores. I’ve written a few books. When I think about the whole issue of books and bookstores, I think about all of the bookstores I visit.”

Stanley said he has one ultimate goal in life, “to get the truth of the gospel to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Stanley urged church store staff to perceive each person who walks into their store as “very important,” he said. “It’s your responsibility. You need to be filled with the Spirit of God—just as much as any pastor.”

The bookstore should be a “happy place,” he advised, adding that it all boils down to “how big your heart is.”

“You’re not just a store manager, you are a missionary, chosen by God,” he said.

Two church-store workshops also were offered. The “Back to Basics” session was led by a panel of church-store experts, including Rachel Savage of The Chapel Store in Melbourne, Florida; Janet McKinley of The Bookstore at First Baptist Church, Atlanta; and Jeanne Terrill of New Hope Church in Manvel, Texas.

Susan Chipman and Carolyn Bilger, both of Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana, presented the “Café Conundrum” workshop with advice on operating  a café or coffee bar.

“The retail business is a completely different business from the restaurant business,” said Chipman, director of retail services. “You need to have someone owning each part of that because they are completely different.”

Geni Hulsey, church bookstore consultant and the event’s organizer, said the purpose for the center was to give church stores an opportunity to connect.

“Operating a church bookstore and issues within the store are different from an independent store or a chain store,” Hulsey said.

Sixty church-store staff registered for the event, but more than 80 attended the luncheon. Vendors, including Send The Light Distribution, Rose Publishing and 1Eighty Apparel, have been supportive of sponsoring the Church Store Connection Center. —McCabe